Riyadh: French President Nicolas Sarkozy
arrived in Riyadh today for meetings with Saudi King Abdullah
that were expected to be dominated by faltering Middle East
Sarkozy was scheduled to head directly from Riyadh`s King
Khaled International Airport to King Abdullah`s farm in the
desert outside the capital, where he will spend the night in
what is described as a more personal visit allowing the two
leaders to get to know each other better.
In an interview published in a Saudi newspaper today, the
French leader called for an urgent resumption of peace talks
between Israelis and Palestinians, warning that if nothing
happens soon, there is a risk of an extremist backlash.
But in a fresh blow to efforts to jumpstart the
negotiations, the Israeli interior ministry gave its approval
on Tuesday to the construction of 900 new housing units in
annexed Arab east Jerusalem, defying Palestinian demands for a
complete freeze on new building.